For the second year in a row, Johannesburg is the most visited city in Africa, followed by Cape Town, according to the 2014 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.

Johannesburg expects 4.3 million international overnight visitors in 2014, a 4.9 percent increase on last year’s 4.1 million visitors. Johannesburg also comes out tops in Africa in terms of international visitor expenditure, with travellers expected to spend a substantial US$3.2 billion in 2014, compared to US$3.06 billion last year.

The City of Gold’s status as the most popular destination city among visitors to the African continent is significant for the economic prospects of the city. Visitor spend is an increasingly important source of revenue for the city’s hospitality, retail, transport, sports and cultural sectors,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, South Africa, MasterCard.

Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Parks Tau says “As Johannesburg we welcome the announcement  as it cements our City’s position as the economic capital and the heartland of trade and economic activity in Africa,” adding that “We are proud  to be the home of most local and multinational companies in banking, finance and industry due to our world class economic and social infrastructure which is essential to big business.”

Trailing Johannesburg by a substantial margin, Cape Town is set to be Africa’s second most visited city. The Mother City is expected to receive 1.6 million international overnight visitors in 2014, who are likely to spend US$2.3 billion. This is a 5.5 percent increase in visitor numbers and an impressive 10 percent increase in spend compared to 2013 (US$2.1 billion).

This year’s Index points to a continued strong demand for and interest in air travel, both for business and personal reasons. Having Johannesburg and Cape Town in the top two places in Africa is a great achievement for South African Tourism,” Elliott says.